Aug. 7, 2010
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Josh Koeppel is a 6-foot-2, 273-pound center who is competing for a starting position with former high school teammate James Ferentz. Koeppel shared a few thoughts with hawkeyesports.com during media day Friday.
By ADAM MEIER
You are competing against another Iowa City High graduate [James Ferentz] for the starting center position. What has that been like?
It’s kind of fun. It makes us both better. We’ve known each other for a couple years now and we’re pretty good friends. We help each other out; it’s not really even a battle or anything. We just try to make each other better.
Expectations are pretty high coming into the 2010 season. How has coach Ferentz approached the team about handling those expectations?
You know every year you have expectations and I think that’s just kind of everyone’s opinion. Every year we have high expectations for ourselves, so it’s not really a big deal. We just worry about what we can control and keep improving and just keep doing what we’ve been doing for the past couple years, which is to work hard and keep getting better.
How has the offensive line as a unit dealt with the veteran departures of last year’s team?
It’s part of college football. You know everyone’s leaving, so we learned from the people that were ahead of us. Now it’s our turn and the younger guys’ turns to show what they’ve got. We’ve lost a lot of guys, but we’ve learned a lot from them and hopefully we can take that to the field.
Being a fifth-year senior, do you feel like you have to take on a different role with the team this year?
There’s always the leadership role of the seniors, and the coaches make sure you’re aware of that. The past few years have proven that the seniors have taken big leadership roles; like last year’s seniors were great seniors and we had a pretty good season. So you try to take on a bigger leadership role and maybe try to become a little bit more vocal and help the younger guys progress as fast as they can.
Talking about the younger players, are there any who have stuck out or really impressed you on the offensive line?
Some young, young guys like Brett Van Sloten. It’s only his second camp, but he’s done pretty well. Conor Boffeli has shown some pretty good flashes of ability. People don’t really know much about some of the younger guys like Markus Zusevics. I think coach Ferentz has said some good things about him. He’s pretty focused now. You know he had guys like (Kyle) Calloway and (Bryan) Bulaga to learn from and he really did learn a lot, and now it’s kind of his time to show that. (Adam)Gettis is an explosive kid; so all the young guys have things to prove.
The defensive line is going to be a strength of the team. How important is it going up against those guys in practice toward building a stronger offensive line?
It’s a great asset for us. We have to go up against them basically every day and every snap and it really does make us better. Back when Mitch (King) and Matt (Kroul) were here, you know we’ve had quite a few good defensive linemen come through here and it really does help our offensive line get better every day. That’s good for us.
What aspects of your individual game did you focus on most this offseason?
Run block, pass block; it’s kind of like everything. Getting stronger, faster, quicker, and a lot of leverage things.
Other than working out with coach Chris Doyle, what kept you busy all summer?
A couple jobs. I work for a moving company — that’s my fourth summer doing that, so that’s a pretty good workout. Then I worked at a restaurant.
Did you go on vacation this summer?
No big vacations. I just took a couple weekend trips; I went up to a lake in Wisconsin a couple times and also to Chicago. It’s nice to get away.
What are your plans following the season?
I’m not sure yet — find a job, hopefully. So hopefully that will kind of pan out for me; we’ll see.